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Quick Start Guide to the New Platform
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nickvalluri
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Jul 5, 2012, 03:04 PM
 
Welcome to the new platform! As you can tell, there are a number of things about the new macnn that look and feel different. While we're excited about the new direction, we also wanted to be sure we provided opportunities to make the core experience of using the forum as consistent as possible for our loyal members.

There are a few changes on the new site that I wanted to call out as slightly different and walk through in detail in order to help you get as comfortable with the platform as possible. There are a few items that will take some time to index, like the activity feed, email notifications, subscriptions, search, and products. These will be fully functional within the next couple days, but you will likely experience some slowness while they index.

There's a lot of stuff below, but hopefully it's worth the read.

New stuff in Forums/Threads:
From the main Forums page, you'll see that threads with new posts are indicated by the yellow circle.

Looking at a subforum page with a thread list, you'll see that threads you've posted in are highlighted.

To jump to the first unread post in the icon, you can click the speech bubble icon that identifies threads with unread posts.




Preferences:

You can click My Profile tab in the navigation that will allow you to access everything you'll need to customize your experience. You can customize your Community Profile from here, but the place to start is the "Edit Account Details" tab



You can tweak a number of settings here, but let's skip ahead to Forum Preferences.

Note that you can also change all these settings from threads (see the "Preferences" button at the top and bottom or every thread).





Default to the Full-Page Editor:

When this box is checked, any time you click any "Reply" button on any forum post, quote or multi-quote a post, you will be directed to the full page reply editor, with the last 10 posts in reverse chronological order, rather than defaulting to the Quick Reply editor at the bottom of every thread page. The Quick Reply will still be available on all thread pages.

View Forums Full-Width:

This preference allows you to view all forum pages (including the main forum area, all sub-forums, all thread pages, and the All New Posts page) at the full width of your browser window. Note that the posts below or on a Widescreen monitor.

Constrain Threads to Constant Width:

This preference constrains all threads to the main column inside of a thread view page. With the default setting (No) the posts after the right column wrap.

Show Absolute Timestamps:

This preference allows you to toggle between absolute and relative timestamps.

Hide User Avatars:

Previously, only certain users had avatars. On the new site, all users have them, but we've imported the ones that were set on vBulletin. We've provided a few options for avatars, but the default Avatar is the winner from this thread (LINK) . If you'd prefer not to see these avatars, this preference allows you to hide all user avatars from thread pages. It's a great way to reduce scrolling. You'll still see them in Profile Pages.

Hide User Signatures and Hide "My Stuff" in Signatures:

The new platform has a ton of functionality with signatures. You can add lists, reviews, galleries, and articles to your signature. That said, some users might not want to see all these new item, or prefer to hide signatures entirely. These two preferences allow you to do so.

Compact Thread List Page:

This preference removes the Last Post post line in the thread list page to reduce vertical space.

Subscriptions:

You can get to your subscriptions at any time via the star icon at the top of the page

The Subscription Activity Feed is designed to work as a series of on and off switches that allow you to drill down in to specific content or broaden your view, rather than a series of tabs that allow you to jump from type to type. Those tabs exist, as you can see below, but the activity feed was designed to be a more living representation of what's interesting to you on the site. Click here for more on subscriptions.

Subscription Preferences:
Your subscriptions and settings should have imported to the setting you had on the old platform. If you didn't change from the default, your default setting will be Don't Subscribe to new content. You can change this so you'll be notified immediately, daily, or weekly on any updates to threads, articles, reviews, or lists you create or reply to.

Site Preferences:

Invisible Mode: Activating Invisible Mode will cause you to not show as a Currently Active User on the site. You will be shown as Currently Offline.

Remove Homepage Carousel: You have the option to remove the image carousel you see now. If you turn it off, the home page body will be the first thing you see:

Remove Nested Quotes in Replies: When a post you're quoting has quoted a previous post or posts, if you want to display those quotes along with the post you're quoting you can turn this off.

Preferred Editor Type: All users should default to the BB Code editor. For more on the difference between the two editors, see here>.

Mute Reputation Display: Reputation is hidden, so this isn't an issue currently.


     
Spheric Harlot
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Jul 5, 2012, 04:51 PM
 
Can you somehow alleviate the ugly?

Just a bit?

And somehow make it so that the "tags" and "currently viewing" at the right do not result in three inches of wasted white space down the entire length of the thread? Edit: Oh. I see. It only indents the first post or three. So it's not only really ugly and wasteful, it's also inconsistent. Okay.

And...oooomph.
     
lpkmckenna
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Jul 5, 2012, 05:01 PM
 
I rarely welcome radical changes to my favourite sites, but I always get used to them. I'm sure this will be no different.

Thanks for all the hard work keeping this place running!
     
shifuimam
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Jul 5, 2012, 05:04 PM
 
Holy hell that yellow on the profile page is bright.

Overall, it looks okay, but I did encounter a really odd problem trying to use the "reply" button on this thread (and others) until I refreshed a couple times:



Also: I'd recommend not making http://forums.macnn.com redirect to the main "community" page - I'm pretty sure everyone who uses this place frequently expects it to direct to the actual forums.

Other than that, looks nice! I can still remember the original 1998 look.

Wanted to also add that I really like the new PM interface where it doesn't load a different page, forcing you to go back a few pages to keep reading a thread.

Also a fan of the lack of the stupid "you have been logged in successfully, click here to continue" forwarder page that is pervasive on every forum software I've used.
     
nickvalluri  (op)
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Jul 5, 2012, 05:06 PM
 
Sorry to hear you aren't a fan, but hopefully with some of the tweaks above you can make yourself a little more comfortable on the new platform. We set it up so that macnn power users (users with 1000 posts or more) can disable the right column in threads and view the posts at full width. This will take some time to cache (the group promotion needs to run retroactively), but in a short while you will be able to disable the right column in your settings. As mentioned above, you can also view the forums at full width and view the condensed thread view page. I hope that helps out some of the pain points for you.

From a design perspective, we used the front page aesthetic to keep things consistent. Unfortunately, there isn't quite as much flexibility there but we are always open to feedback from folks like yourself who tend to have the best sense of what makes the forums tick.
     
nickvalluri  (op)
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Jul 5, 2012, 05:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Holy hell that yellow on the profile page is bright.

Overall, it looks okay, but I did encounter a really odd problem trying to use the "reply" button on this thread (and others) until I refreshed a couple times:



Also: I'd recommend not making http://forums.macnn.com redirect to the main "community" page - I'm pretty sure everyone who uses this place frequently expects it to direct to the actual forums.

Other than that, looks nice! I can still remember the original 1998 look.

Oh, P.S. - two threads I started a couple days ago appear to have gone kaput. Not sure if that's just me or if other people are seeing the same...

Ok, wanted to also add that I really like the new PM interface where it doesn't load a different page, forcing you to go back a few pages to keep reading a thread.

Also a fan of the lack of the stupid "you have been logged in successfully, click here to continue" forwarder page that is pervasive on every forum software I've used.
Thanks for the feedback! We can definitely make these types of tweaks, we just like to wait after a few more users get the chance to chime in so we can consolidate and prioritize the changes. That said, I agree that the yellow could be toned down

With regards to the posting bug, are you able to reproduce that one? If you are, if you could share more information (browser, steps to reproduce) we can get to the bottom of it. I really appreciate the diligence.

Lastly, missing threads are a big concern with any import. If you have any detail on where the thread was posted or what the content was, that would be helpful for the import team. Thanks very much!
     
iMOTOR
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Jul 5, 2012, 06:07 PM
 
:
     
Rumor
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Jul 5, 2012, 06:09 PM
 
Shi, not sure why but someone reported your post as spam.

NIck, previously when someone reported a post, the mods of that forum would be the only ones to get an email (Admins too maybe?). I got the report for Shi's post but am not a mod for the lounge.
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andi*pandi
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Jul 5, 2012, 06:17 PM
 
I got it too.

I also agree with shif, it is misleading to go to "forums.macnn.com" and end up having to click again.
     
besson3c
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Jul 5, 2012, 06:37 PM
 
Perhaps we should consolidate all feedback threads? I've reported a few things that could stand improvements, IMHO, or things that are just broken.

Good effort on the design, I'm sure this can be refined! I'll never understand the MacNN planning and rollout process, but I'll get over that someday
     
besson3c
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Jul 5, 2012, 06:38 PM
 
Is there a way to change the default "get notified when others reply" setting?
     
Lateralus
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Jul 6, 2012, 01:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I'll never understand the MacNN planning and rollout process, but I'll get over that someday
If only you knew how long this has been in the making... Think Duke Nukem Forever, but even longer.
I like chicken
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subego
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Jul 6, 2012, 01:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
If only you knew how long this has been in the making... Think Duke Nukem Forever, but even longer.
Knowing that would involve having been told.
     
Big Mac
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Jul 6, 2012, 02:56 AM
 
Hi nick, thank you for interacting with us on the new design. I do give credit that your team was able to migrate most everything over content wise to your new software platform. We do have complaints but clearly you're trying to address them, so I'm happy to see that.

I really wish the editor wouldn't have its own proprietary contextual menu with only the Paste command (that doesn't even work!), but maybe that's a limitation of the rich editor mode on web editors generally (seen it in other editors). But that issue is solved if BBCode editor is used instead.

As has been said previously, the edit and flag buttons are really out of place. they don't belong where they are currently and especially not paired together.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
Laminar
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Jul 6, 2012, 06:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
I got it too.
I also agree with shif, it is misleading to go to "forums.macnn.com" and end up having to click again.
There was all sorts of confusion for me this morning.
     
imitchellg5
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Jul 6, 2012, 06:59 AM
 
Is there any way to access the old design (IE MacNN classic) or is this the only way?
     
shifuimam
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Jul 6, 2012, 07:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by nickvalluri View Post
Thanks for the feedback! We can definitely make these types of tweaks, we just like to wait after a few more users get the chance to chime in so we can consolidate and prioritize the changes. That said, I agree that the yellow could be toned down

With regards to the posting bug, are you able to reproduce that one? If you are, if you could share more information (browser, steps to reproduce) we can get to the bottom of it. I really appreciate the diligence.

Lastly, missing threads are a big concern with any import. If you have any detail on where the thread was posted or what the content was, that would be helpful for the import team. Thanks very much!
I can't seem to reproduce that particular bug. It happened this morning on my Win 7 x64 machine in both FireFox and Chrome. I'll let you know if I do, though.

I was wrong about the missing threads. I'm apparently just an idiot.

Another bit of feedback - the inline image resizer that was part of the previous version of the forums was pretty awesome, and a lot faster than the JS-based image viewer that's currently in place. Any chance of bringing that back?

Please, please, please fix the redirect that keeps http://forums.macnn.com from loading the forums. Maybe use something like http://community.macnn.com for the other page?

Also: Definitely move the flag and edit buttons to the right with the other ones.

Also also: REALLY did not like that I was auto-subscribed to MacNN spam following the migration. I previously opted out of that.
     
Jawbone54
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Jul 6, 2012, 08:09 AM
 
There's a lot going on with this interface. I'm generally a fan of clean, simple aesthetics, and this feels like a fairly significant step away from that philosophy. It seems odd that a Mac-centered site would look and feel this way.

If you're scrolling through a thread, the posts look fine. It's the header and navigation that are putting me off. A lot of the button icons don't even look like they're supposed to be on the same site.

Maybe I'll get used to it, but I don't think I'll ever feel like it was a good change.
     
Laminar
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Location: Iowa, how long can this be? Does it really ruin the left column spacing?
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Jul 6, 2012, 08:38 AM
 
Sigs are left-aligned. I win.
     
OAW
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Jul 6, 2012, 11:16 AM
 
So I've done some tweaking and things are looking a lot better. But seriously ... WTF is up with all the posts having that huge EMPTY SPACE underneath them before you see the signature?

OAW

PS: And more smilies would have been nice.
     
cgc
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Jul 6, 2012, 01:46 PM
 
Wow, what an ugly downgrade and why is the Community page the new start page? First thing I did was look for an option to at least look like the older MacNN forums but there was none...ugh.
     
cgc
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Jul 6, 2012, 01:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post

If only you knew how long this has been in the making... Think Duke Nukem Forever, but even longer.
Was feedback ever solicited? Sometimes change for the sake of change is the worst thing that could be done.
     
Ω
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Jul 6, 2012, 07:29 PM
 
So how do I get my username corrected?

Ω
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Jawbone54
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Jul 6, 2012, 11:39 PM
 
This redesign is probably what's going to push me away from the 'NN for good.

I come here to communicate with a small group on a fairly consistent basis in a comfortable environment with an interface that mostly stays out of the way.

The new interace: ugly, intrusive, and unintuitive. Agreed that change for change's sake is terrible.
     
Ω
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Jul 7, 2012, 01:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by Jawbone54 View Post
This redesign is probably what's going to push me away from the 'NN for good.
I come here to communicate with a small group on a fairly consistent basis in a comfortable environment with an interface that mostly stays out of the way.
The new interace: ugly, intrusive, and unintuitive. Agreed that change for change's sake is terrible.
NEWS FLASH: They dont care.
"angels bleed from the tainted touch of my caress"
     
OldManMac
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Jul 7, 2012, 02:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by o View Post
NEWS FLASH: They dont care.
So it's beginning to seem. This is downright ugly!
Why is there always money for war, but none for education?
     
Thorzdad
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Jul 7, 2012, 02:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by cgc View Post
Was feedback ever solicited?
Yes.
The mods and admins had access to a beta site for a brief period to give feedback. We're still giving feedback. A lot of feedback.
     
cgc
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Jul 7, 2012, 03:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post

Yes.
The mods and admins had access to a beta site for a brief period to give feedback. We're still giving feedback.
I hope you take user's opinions into consideration. I think I speak for everyone when I say WE LOVE MACNN'S CONTENT, it's just the UI that's overly fluffy and pretty and it's also too bright and a little too bulbous. If there were a darker legacy theme we could select to make things look more like the old MacNN but with the new features I'd be happy. Otherwise I too may look for a less obtrusive alterative to MacNN.

Thanks.
     
turtle777
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Jul 7, 2012, 03:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
If only you knew how long this has been in the making... Think Duke Nukem Forever, but even longer.
*sigh*

If only it had taken 70 years longer, I would have had no complaint.

-t
     
Thorzdad
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Jul 7, 2012, 04:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by cgc View Post
I hope you take user's opinions into consideration.  I think I speak for everyone when I say WE LOVE MACNN'S CONTENT, it's just the UI that's overly fluffy and pretty and it's also too bright and a little too bulbous.  If there were a darker legacy theme we could select to make things look more like the old MacNN but with the new features I'd be happy.  Otherwise I too may look for a less obtrusive alterative to MacNN.

Thanks.
Absolutely we are listening to users' opinions. In fact, we share a lot of your concerns and opinions. Unfortunately, the staff does not have the deep, hands-on control over the new forum platform that we did with the old platform. Right now, all we can do is communicate our concerns and suggestions to the Huddler staff. As with any major push like this, there is a triage system in place, and the bigger, serious bugs are going to get attention before stylistic issues are addressed. All we ask is that everyone give it a little time to get things worked-out.
     
subego
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Jul 7, 2012, 07:29 AM
 
How high on the list is the illegibility of the site on mobile?

(Assuming you have access to this information or access to those who do)
     
Thorzdad
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Jul 7, 2012, 07:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
How high on the list is the illegibility of the site on mobile?
(Assuming you have access to this information or access to those who do)
We have an inquiry in as to whether there will be a dedicated mobile site. I guess the answer to that one will determine whether tweeks will be made to make the main site mobile-friendly or not.
     
imitchellg5
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Jul 7, 2012, 07:54 AM
 
The amount of blank space after every post is annoying.
     
reader50
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Jul 7, 2012, 09:22 AM
 
Huddler is a hosted platform, which means so far I have no access to the forum files or the database. I've got requests in on both subjects. In the short term, this means we're having to beg their support people for all the issues beyond the standard controls that I'd have fixed in the past.

Ω, the new platform limits user names to letters, numbers, and spaces between words. As a legacy user, you deserve to keep your real name, which will require a direct database access to fix. I put in a bug request for you last night (as an import failure) - no reply yet.

Removing the forced padding in every post has been on feature request since yesterday.

We're most definitely giving feedback. Their replies have mostly been reasonable, and a few items have been fixed so far. But there have not been a lot of replies. Perhaps they should not have done the upgrade during a holiday week. And now we're in a weekend. Us volunteers are still happy to work on issues, but so far we can't reach the problems.
     
Jawbone54
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Jul 7, 2012, 12:19 PM
 
Another Huddler site: http://www.geekstogo.com/forum/

Loads better.
     
Thorzdad
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Jul 7, 2012, 12:26 PM
 
That's not a Huddler site. It's IP.Board.
     
Ω
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Jul 7, 2012, 02:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Ω, the new platform limits user names to letters, numbers, and spaces between words. As a legacy user, you deserve to keep your real name, which will require a direct database access to fix. I put in a bug request for you last night (as an import failure) - no reply yet.
Thank you. Would I be wrong in assuming that this is the same team that upgraded AI? If so a lot of the complaints being made here were replicated there and to me it seems like the traffic there has declined. At least the emoticons work here though I think the big stars need to die at they screw the formatting.
"angels bleed from the tainted touch of my caress"
     
Thorzdad
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Jul 7, 2012, 02:48 PM
 
It's the same platform as AI. Can't say if it's the same team that handled their conversion.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jul 7, 2012, 03:52 PM
 
The BBCode editing controls above the quick reply Field are hilariously huge on iPad/iPhone.

Also, I can see one column of smileys at right, and four-a fifths of a star.
     
Ω
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Jul 7, 2012, 04:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
It's the same platform as AI. Can't say if it's the same team that handled their conversion.
It was "well received" there as well. Many issues raised still have not been resolved which is a concern. At least we have a contact we can vent our "furious anger" upon here!

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post

The BBCode editing controls above the quick reply Field are hilariously huge on iPad/iPhone.
Also, I can see one column of smileys at right, and four-a fifths of a star.
I concur. The stars are poo and must die.
"angels bleed from the tainted touch of my caress"
     
reader50
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Jul 7, 2012, 05:32 PM
 
Those stars were only supposed to be for iApp reviews by forum members. I see no reason why they should be in our normal smilies list. It would be easy enough to look up their URLs when someone posts a review. You guessed it though - I've no access to the smilies configuration.

Ω, any idea how long ago AI did their transition? So we can look at the fix level vs time.
     
turtle777
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Jul 7, 2012, 06:03 PM
 
Ok, so here's on of my gripes:

Why the hell do we have a "Start a New Thread" button at the end of a thread, but no "New Posts" button ?

Aaaargh...

-t
     
shifuimam
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Jul 7, 2012, 06:22 PM
 
So I may be a little slow on the uptake on this one, but I just figured out what all these references to "Huddler" are about.

I'm not entirely sure why a site as long-running as MacNN felt compelled to migrate to some third-party hosted platform that took control away from the admins who actually interact with the user base directly.

Aside from the fact that straight up forum admins no longer have full admin rights to modify forum content, there's a lot of other new crap that's part of the "social networking" portion of the site - like product reviews and the like. How many different sites do we really need to maintain a catalog of reviews? Seems like Apple's own website is good enough for that, along with maybe a few sites with professionally-written reviews, like Engadget and TUAW.

I feel like the powers that be behind this move are trying to do what Ryan Howard tried to do with Dunder Mifflin's website - create a new "social network" where there is absolutely no need for one. The forums were perfectly adequate for internet socializing, at least until the content went to crap and the membership dwindled into nothingness (but I still feel like a big part of that was a negative shift in the behavior and attitude of some of the more active members).

I don't think that making a massive change like this is going to help increase MacNN's community membership. If anything, it's going to alienate the people who have stuck around and push everyone to give up and just stick with MacRumors (or whatever else is out there; that's the only other big forum I know of offhand).

Some of the appearance and functionality changes with the new forum platform are improvements over the previous vBulletin implementation - but it seems like this migration to Huddler has bigger implications than what we're experiencing in the forums.
     
Ω
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Jul 7, 2012, 07:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Those stars were only supposed to be for iApp reviews by forum members. I see no reason why they should be in our normal smilies list. It would be easy enough to look up their URLs when someone posts a review. You guessed it though - I've no access to the smilies configuration.
Ω, any idea how long ago AI did their transition? So we can look at the fix level vs time.
4/19/12 IS THE DATE that i cut and pasted from the site
"angels bleed from the tainted touch of my caress"
     
Ω
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Jul 7, 2012, 07:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by Ω View Post

4/19/12 IS THE DATE that i cut and pasted from the site
Well that went a little funky. Looks like the editor is a little more flexible regarding what you can do. However I did a preview for the above post and the editor went blank.
"angels bleed from the tainted touch of my caress"
     
cgc
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Jul 8, 2012, 01:36 AM
 
When I return to MacNN I look for forums with new posts which are highlighted with a yellow dot. When I look at the last post, it's sometimes me so I click into the thread and yup, I'm the last post. I'll go goof off and come back a few hours or a day later and the forum is highlighted yellow still. I look to see what's new and it's still my post. It seems that your
"new post" classifier/indicator isn't working or there's a problem with Chromium.

Anyone else see this problem? It's not just my posts, I just use that as a frame of reference since I know I read them.
     
P
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Jul 8, 2012, 02:09 AM
 
Threads are unread until you have open that exact thread - they do not timeout after opening the forum the way it used to. There is a button to mark all threads read, however.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Ω
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Jul 8, 2012, 02:32 AM
 
What I have noticed is that if I have made a post and then come back later that my post is not registered as being the last post in the new post search results.
"angels bleed from the tainted touch of my caress"
     
subego
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Jul 8, 2012, 02:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
We have an inquiry in as to whether there will be a dedicated mobile site. I guess the answer to that one will determine whether tweeks will be made to make the main site mobile-friendly or not.
Translation:




Not directed at you Thorzdad, you're doing a bang-up job under difficult circumstances. The kind of guy I might, you know, hire to do shit right
     
subego
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Jul 8, 2012, 02:45 AM
 
Is there something the staff did to deserve picking up after all the shit these people sprayed across the forums?

I assume these jokers are actually getting paid to make your life difficult. That would kinda sorta piss me off.

It kinda sorta pisses me off just having to watch it.
     
 
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